ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi yesterday said that India’s hegemonic designs have threatened Pakistan and the regional stability.

Speaking at a ceremony in the Air University Islamabad on the country’s foreign policy, the FM said that India had resorted to war-mongering and issued nuclear threats for short-term “domestic electoral gains.”

The minister said that New Delhi had refused to bilaterally engage in dialogue and rejected proposals aimed at risk reduction, confidence-building and nuclear and missile restraint. He said that Pakistan desired peace and strategic stability in order to focus on its socio-economic development agenda. “Our conduct continues to be defined by restraint and responsibility, and the avoidance of an arms race. Pakistan, however, cannot remain oblivious to the evolving security dynamics in its immediate neighbourhood,” he added. The FM said that on August 5, India had sought to further consolidate its illegal and immoral occupation of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir in violation of numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions and the International Law.

He said that the inhuman lockdown of eight million people for over 70 days had imposed unspeakable sufferings on the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Qureshi says India resorting to war mongering. Accuses Delhi of refusing talks option

He said, “We would continue to stand by Kashmiris in their just struggle for realisation of the right to self-determination.” Pakistan’s foreign policy, he said, has acquired special significance in view of major shifts taking place in the regional and global order. It is often asked as to how do we promote and protect our vital national interests in the realm of diplomacy, international politics, inter-state relations, in this rapidly changing milieu. The short answer is: very prudently.

Qureshi said that the foreign-policy making process was always complex as well as elaborate. “It requires extensive consultations with key stakeholders.  All elements of national power such as economic strength, social cohesion, institutional balance, military capabilities, network of allies, ideological orientation - to name a few - contribute to formulation and evolution of foreign policy. The implementation phase is equally laborious, and painstaking,” he said. He said that the desperate attempt by India to portray a situation of “normalcy” in Kashmir was in sharp contrast to reports of torture and detention by the international media.

“They are indicative of a reprehensible Indian design to spin an alternative reality to mislead the world. Similarly reprehensible is the fiction being advanced by Indian authorities regarding restoration of mobile phone service in Kashmir,” he said.

Qureshi said that Pakistan will continue to stand by Kashmiris in their just struggle for realization of the right to self-determination. “We, and the Kashmiris, remain grateful to all those governments, international and regional human rights organizations, civil society members, and the international media who have raised their voice against India’s illegal and unilateral actions and supported the resolution of Kashmir dispute according to the UNSC resolutions and wishes of the Kashmiri people,” he maintained.

India, he said, is also pursuing a massive build-up of its nuclear and conventional military forces and acquiring destabilizing capabilities.

“These include nuclearization of Indian Ocean and deployment of anti-ballistic missiles; development and testing of debris-generating Anti-Satellite weapons; and a constant increase in the readiness, sophistication and diversification of all types of delivery systems and platforms,” he elaborated. On Afghanistan, he said, turmoil and protracted war had immeasurably affected Pakistan and its society. “Pakistan maintained for a long time that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. We are gratified that our position is vindicated and there is, today, an across-the-board agreement in favour of a political settlement,” he added.

Qureshi said that Pakistan was fully supporting peace and reconciliation, to be achieved through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. “We have supported all rounds of Afghan peace talks in Doha and Abu Dhabi. We hope that the US-Taliban talks recommence and lead to intra-Afghan negotiations,” he remarked.  China, Afghanistan and Pakistan, he recalled, had convened the third Trilateral Foreign Minister’s Dialogue on September 7. “We welcomed the agreements reached in the dialogue and hope that deeper cooperation is forged in matters of development and connectivity with Afghanistan,” he said.  China, he said, “remains our closest friend and a steadfast partner. Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership is an anchor for peace and stability in the region. This relationship has expanded and diversified a great deal in past few years and we will continue to reinforce our ties to protect and promote our strategic, economic, trade, people-to-people and investment interests.”